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Sharp drop in Welsh students applying for university

The BBC report that there has been a sharp drop in the number of students from Wales applying to universities in 2013.

They say that the overall number is down 11.7% and that is nearly double the drop in England which stands at 6.5% over 2012. The figures also show a 3.9% drop in Scotland whereas in Northern Ireland there was a rise of 0.5%.

A Welsh government spokesperson said that the “early data” would soon be out of date and that 40% of applications often come in the final month:

“The decision to go on to higher education is one that only individuals can make,” a spokesperson said.

“Some young people may choose to find employment or pursue vocational training.

“Whatever their choice, we strongly believe prospective students from Wales should not be deterred from applying to attend any university in the UK due to a lack of funding or support.

“That’s why we are providing what we believe is the most equitable student finance system we have ever had, offering financial support wherever students choose to study.”

Universities in the UK can now charge up to £9,000 a year in tuition fees, however in Wales the Welsh government helps pay any increase in fees for students in Wales, wherever they decide to study in the UK. That means that students pay about £3,500 with the Welsh government paying the rest of the fee through a grant.

The theory is that this will incentivise and help Welsh students to go into higher education. However, that theory appears to be contradicted by the facts. In addition recent figures have shown that less students are coming to Welsh Universities from England than vice versa.

That means that the Welsh Government is using some of the Welsh block grant, previously earmarked for Welsh Universities, to subsidise higher education in England.

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  3. Plaid’s distraction techniques will not wash with Welsh students

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